25 Worcester Park, Larkhall, Bath
25 Worcester Park is an unlisted late 20th century detached dwelling, situated within the Bath Conservation Area and the World Heritage Site. It forms part of a modern cul-de-sac with mid-range landscape views out to the north-east towards Little Solsbury Hill. This street within the Larkhall character area is overtly suburban in character and appearance, and is ultimately of neutral architectural or historic interest.
In response to the Climate Emergency, there is a welcome opportunity for the installation of PV panels in areas of limited historic or visual sensitivity, to appropriately mitigate potential resulting impact on the historic environment and its landscape setting, whilst contributing towards B&NES Council’s objectives to reach Net Zero by 2030.
However, despite the acknowledged suitability of the area to accommodate roof mounted PV with less than substantial harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area, the panels would be of clear public visibility along Worcester Park due to their installation on the southern, street-facing roof elevation. Typically, BPT expresses a preference for the use of rear or lower visibility roof slopes to minimise the visibility of panels, although in this case we recognise the need to balance visual impact alongside ensuring the optimum efficiency of the panels themselves. We continue to emphasise that this is an exercise that should be undertaken on a case-by-case basis, and this application should not be considered a precedent to be applied across the area in a similar manner. We conclude that within this context, the proposed development would result in less than substantial harm which would be outweighed by demonstrated public benefit.
Based on the proposed increased visibility of these panels in streetscape views, we therefore strongly encourage efforts to protect the visual amenity of the street scene, therefore further details about the scale, appearance, and finish of the proposed panels are provided due to the amount of variety seen in different panel specifications. We emphasise our preference for ‘frameless’ panels with a matt black finish to minimise reflectivity and possible brightness of appearance and blend in as best as possible with the existing roof covering. Panels should sit as flush with the existing roof slope as practicable to prevent a visible ‘increase’ in roof ridge height. Given the modern age of the house, there may even be potential for the panels to be recessed ‘into’ the roof slope, rather than fixed on top of the roof tiles.
Where possible it is recommended to establish a ‘template’ for other future PV panel installations to ensure a coherent and recessive appearance within this area.